Adrien Broner vs Khabib Allakhverdiev & Jose Pedraza vs Edner Cherry
BY KID HERSH
From Cincinnati, Ohio, came Showtime boxing with two championship bouts. First up was Jose Pedraza (20-0, 12ko's) vs Edner Cherry (34-6-2, 19ko's). The first round was all Pedraza, as he had great upper body movement to make himself elusive and was indicative of his moniker as "The Sniper" for his nickname, picking Cherry apart with accurate shots. The second round was a bit ugly with neither man establishing much of a rhythm. In the third Pedraza was able to establish ring control with his sharpshooting as he was very accurate with his jab in setting up his right hand. Cherry was mostly swinging and missing, putting out a higher work rate but at times missing by feet instead of inches. The men went to work in the fourth round, making it an inside fight for a good portion of it while slugging it out back and forth. Cherry was doing a lot of missing while trying to land on the bobbing and weaving target in front of him. Pedraza, for his part, although not extremely accurate himself was indeed landing the better/cleaner shots. The action slowed in the fifth, with Cherry looking to fight off the back foot and surprising doing very well despite the lack of real action compared to the previous round. Cherry's jab was effective and Pedraza was no longer in control of the ring as he had problems working past Cherry's suddenly accurate and important new tool (the jab). The sixth round had the fighters again back in close quarters, but this time Cherry was carrying the momentum from the previous round and got the better of the action. Nearing the end of the round Cherry looked like he was even breaking Pedraza down, with his legs looking a bit wobbly and suddenly Pedraza was not moving much at all and noticeably shaken. Cherry threw over 100 punches in this round and it looks like he has the undefeated youngster going! Cherry couldn't miss with the right hand and he carried this into the seventh round, firing away with rights and landing them one after another as Pedraza was carrying his hands low and looking like he wanted to get hit with rights in a rather puzzling manner - leaving himself wide open. Pedraza was taking the right hand Cherry Bombs really well, proving great endurance, but he just couldn't get away from them anymore! He would go from looking hurt/stunned to suddenly getting on his wheels and moving about the ring, trying to box his man again. I think he is ready to go at this rate but I just don't understand why he doesn't use those good legs to get off and move instead of waiting on Cherry. After working so hard to make the fight close on the cards Cherry went back to "boxing" his man in the eighth round, which meant that his work rate fell to abysmal and he circled the ring while trying to pop off jabs that were really just a keep busy punch. Pedraza still looked confused as he did in the previous rounds but he did manage to land a couple more solid body shots in this round and might have stole it - which is very important in this close fight. About the biggest change I could see was Pedraza changing to southpaw in the eighth - which is a big deal but usually you see some failed attempts before a guy just totally blunts his offense and throws up the white flag for his output that has changed the fight. Cherry did nothing to attempt to land on the now southpaw Pedraza, despite it not being the first time he changed to the stance as well, making it all the more puzzling. This continued through the ninth round with Pedraza establishing a bit of a rhythm, even if still lackluster in eking out rounds. The tenth round was a pretty close one with Cherry coming alive more but the southpaw style obviously confusing him as he couldn't find the footwork to position himself to land on Pedraza with the effect he had just a few rounds ago. Both fighters showed great conditioning in the championship rounds, with Cherry finding a home for the right hand again in the eleventh round when he came out pressing the champion and was stepping into the rights while positioning his front foot properly outside of Pedraza's so he did not come up short like previously, trapping his man. The twelfth round was a great ending to a solid fight. It started out pretty lackluster but turned into a very competitive affair and the last round had both men laying it all on the line. Cherry's shots were more noticeable both because of power but also because of number, as he again outworked Pedraza - which he has done for a majority of the fight. It is still a tight fight to score though because Pedraza really did control a number of rounds (especially the early ones) and then when he switched to southpaw in the eighth which confused Cherry for a number of rounds afterwards. Cherry threw nearly 400 more punches than Pedraza at only a slightly lower percentage but Pedraza would keep his championship belt via SD, with scores 112-116 and then 117-111 two times for Pedraza - an astounding nine rounds for Pedraza. This had Bernstein and Malignaggi sounding off on the cards, with Bernstein even saying "there is no way in Gods earth you can score nine rounds for Pedraza". It was a close fight though in my opinion. Sure, I had Cherry taking it, but it could have swung either way. Nine rounds for Pedraza? No. Split decision? Sure, it's possible.
Main event time with Adrien Broner (30-2, 22ko's) vs Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-1, 9ko's) for the vacant WBA 140lb title that was previously Jessie Vargas's title until he moved to welterweight this year. Allakhverdiev challeneged Vargas in April of last year for this same title in a pretty close fight and is getting a second shot at the title now against Broner, which could be the problem because that was 18 months ago and his last fight! Broner, on the other hand, claims that he is rededicated to the sport after the Porter loss and is going to let his fists do the talking in the ring for this one. He came in at a ready-looking 138.5lbs, showing that perhaps he really did give this training camp his all? The first round was a very slow and awkward feeler round, with Khabib looking veery awkward with his feints and upper body movement while Broner was looking to counter but not getting much for opportunities. In the second round Broner was getting the type of fight he wanted; a chess match where you trade shots. He is very hard to beat at this game, as Paulie pointed out and would know, and he is picking Khabib apart at this game while taking little damage. In the third round Broner landed some straight right hands flush - really the first time in this chess match that we have seen clean shots. Khabib took them well and got moving a bit faster, landing some good shots of his own to close the round. The fourth round was more Broner with his right hand and clean counterpunching, with Khabib unable to get off his shots effectively and Bronr had him overthinking instead of throwing. By the end of the fourth round, and into the fifth round, Broner was getting very comfortable and started to showboat a bit by getting low and picking flashy shots to "ooo" and "aah" the audience. Broner was in rhythm in the fifth and easily won the round but Khabib also trapped him on the ropes (Broner's weakness) and was able to unload some shots and land a few, doing this and working Broner's body to end the round. In the sixth round Broner decided to stand and trade for a change, at first taking as good as he was giving but then two minutes into the round landed a couple of vicious right hands that rocked Khabib, snapping his head violently. The sixth round ended with both guys trading their best shots - Broner seemingly not worried about Khabib's power at this point as he sat down on his shots looking to do damage to the champion. Khabib looked pretty worn in the seventh round, showing the damage from the previous round with his face red and starting to swell a bit and he was now giving ground to Broner, not looking to press or even stand and trade anymore. Broner showed that he is in great shape, coming alive and showboating in the eighth round with extreme high energy to dominate Khabib. He is landing everything from lead uppercuts (starting from the floor) to bolo shots. He was even talking to ringside - saying "what's up?!" to Paulie and others ringside. Khabib had a bit of a resurgence in the ninth round, trapping Broner on the ropes and throwing more shots than the previous rounds. Broner blocked lots of the punches and others were deflected as Broner seemed to take no damage. He also likely stole the round on the cards when he landed a vicious uppercut that snapped Khabib's head violently with only thirty seconds left in the round. Broner's punch output continued to drop in the tenth round, although he did come alive at the end of the round to explode with some power shots while looking to damage Khabib further, as if he is just biding his time for these explosions (they are very few and far between though). In the eleventh round Broner was really pouring it on early, with Khabib's face looking really beaten up and his physical capabilities worn down. Khabib got a lucky break for a glove tape malfunction and then made it through the round while giving his best but Broner is in tip top shape and has tons of energy even though it's late in the fight (he hasn't taken much damage) and is again sitting down on his shots to do damage and is taking Khabib apart bit by bit here, with him having nearly nothing left. In the twelfth and final round Khabib's face was really looking disfigured, with his right eye nearly swollen shut now. He put on a good show in trying his best to hurt Broner and emptying the gas tank but he got caught with some power shots with less than a minute left in the fight and referee Harvey Dock stopped the fight, as he warned Khabib's corner he would do before the final round started. Khabib likely would have finished the fight on his feet but it's one of those things where Broner was about to unload for the remainder of the round and Khabib was just going to take the majority of shots with little left to offer back. Part of me wants to see the champion allowed to see the final bell, as Paulie said afterwards, but on the other hand Khabib was only going to take more punishment and had no chance of winning. Broner being Broner lead off the post fight interview with "I'm fucking tired...but I gotta thank God". Enough said